It’s a Mabef M105 Pochade box with the wooden tripod, as the Pochade box is too heavy for my camera tripod. I got this to replace a cheap french easel I’d bought off eBay. Anything I stored in the box would start falling out when it was closed and tipped upright to be carried and all the screws would constantly drop out of me, often leaving me painting on my lap as the legs wouldn’t stay put or the easel part of it would slide back down.
- Heavy, I have a lot of regret carrying this one up a steep hill to the car. Not one to take hiking.
- Faff on to get tripod and box together (and apart with cold fingers) and if someone is watching it takes twice as long
- Easy to loose a wing nut (they’re M6 size)
- Panel holders are slightly smaller than the stated size, in order to fit the 12″ x 10″ in the panel holder I had to use sandpaper to allow it to open that far. The panel holder slots at the back are also that bit to small so I’ll have to do the same
- I wish the brush holder holes weren’t there, it means there isn’t a solid ledge to put your oil paints agains
- Panel holder means can hold up to 12″ (when modified) and smaller panels if desired
- Sliding palette for ease of access
- Panel holder means don’t get weird edges to paintings
- Being heavy means it’s less likely to blow over
- Adjustable height to tripod, I can use it standing or sitting on a bench
- Solid build, Mabef easels have never collapsed on me (I own two)
- I got it on sale, so I found the price to be fair (when compared to hand made easels imported from America with customs charges on top)
- Can be used as a watercolour box as it will lay flat
Handy tip to carry tripod and box: use bungee cords. I got the idea from another artist when I was at Staithes. Having a free hand is always useful. The bungee cords can also be wrapped around and used as a hook for water buckets/solvent containers.
In conclusion its much better than the afore mentioned french easel, and its better than my old Pochade box, which needs gluing together every now and then, can take one size of panel only and is to flimsy to put on a tripod. There are other options out there, in America. When I was at Staithes I had such pocharde envy at people who had Open Box M and Strada easels. But like all things in life the best one is the one you’ll use.
The three buckets are to try and keep a pot of clean water for mixing colours. I always end up putting my brush in the wrong one, or my tea.